Centralian Senior College student Shiloh Jarrett (right) is spending part of her summer break at the National Gallery of Australia, as a recipient of one of their National Summer Art Scholarships.
She is one of 16 Year 11 students from a field of 200 around Australia to win a place on this week-long course of workshops, tours and discussion based on works of art in the gallery’s collection and in the current major summer exhibition, Gold and the Incas: Lost worlds of Peru. This is Shiloh’s first trip to Canberra.
The talented student came to public attention in Alice Springs last year when her artwork was chosen to feature on the Alice Desert Festival poster and program. Her designs (see left) showed a love of intricate patterns. She said then that she generally starts with a circle and works out from there, with the designs often turning into suns and stars.
For her family, stars have a special significance – “part of our dreaming and culture passed down through generations”. Shiloh’s mother is Anmatjere and her father Gumbayngirr, from the Bowraville area of NSW.
Although she’s been interested to see “behind the scenes” at the national gallery, her primary focus is on her work and “getting it out there”. She loved seeing Gold and the Incas and was particularly taken with the wood carvings in the show, thinking about ways of incorporating their sense of design into her own.
Art school is where she wants to head after leaving Centralian, with a view to a future as a practising artist, but this week has also given her a taste for “the curator’s job”.
Adriane Boag, coordinator of the gallery’s Youth and Community Programs said Shiloh may be quiet but she is always in the thick of each activity:
“She absorbs information and engages with the ideas presented. Her print at the Lichtenstein workshop took the most time to develop but is one of the most vibrant. It’s been inspiring to see Shiloh responding to the collection and combining new ideas.”
The temperature in the gallery is a bit cold and Shiloh needs to wear a jumper and trousers when all the other students are in shorts and t-shirts, but “it’s great to see her as one of the crowd”, said Adriane.
Katie Russell, head of Learning and Access at the national gallery said many past recipients of the scholarship have gone on to excel in diverse areas of the visual arts: “The scholarship builds connections between individuals, school communities and the gallery; the students become ambassadors for their great national art collection, as they experience the vitality of Australia’s visual culture.”
The National Summer Art Scholarship is also supported by the National Australia Bank, Brassey of Canberra, and the Australian National University School of Art.
– Kieran Finnane